Jumping fences: black life, the terms of order, & the textures of freedom

Authors: Mia Dawson*,
Topics: Black Geographies
Keywords: abolition, policing, property, racial capitalism
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 30
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


When police slay black people, those of us who are affected demand answers where there are none to be found. Within a paradigm of linear and progressive time, these fatal encounters rupture narrative and preclude logic— in a word, they are senseless. In order to depart from the endlessly rehearsed efforts of the state to demonstrate cause and effect, organizing towards police abolition requires a different framework. I argue that a focus on the spatiality of police violence can unsettle an inviable causal paradigm. I focus on the hegemonic and totalizing construction of space as property under regimes of racial capitalism. Grounding my work in my experience as an organizer in Sacramento, I consider a disregard for property markers such as walls, facades, and fences as it incites police violence both in mundane black life and in protests/riots. Here, the spatial order of racial capitalism emerges both as cause and effect of police brutality. In imaging liberation from this necrospatial order, I argue against an understanding of freedom as a destination in historical time. Exploring possibilities embodied in the act of jumping fences, I theorize freedom as a texture emergent in a disordering of time, selfhood, and space.

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